The International Paralympic Committee has suspended the Paralympic Committee of India for indefinite period for infighting within the national body and shoddy treatment meted out to athletes during the National Para-Athletics Championships at Ghaziabad last month.
In a letter dated April 15 and sent by email to PCI, the IPC said the suspension would be for an indefinite period.
“The situation in PCI has been chaotic for several years now, which is mostly due to individual conflicts at the national level between different groups and persons … and the situation does not bring any positive outcome for the athletes,” IPC CEO Xavier Gonzalez said in the letter.
This is the second time the PCI has been suspended by the world body.
PCI secretary-general J Chandrashekar said that the hardest hit by the suspension will be the para-athletes and the national body will request the IPC to reconsider its decision.
Rajesh Tomar, who has been suspended by the Executive Committee of the PCI on April 4 for his role in the Ghaziabad fiasco, said that the government will have to intervene and request the IPC to remove the suspension.
“We are shocked at this harsh decision. The PCI cited infighting and the Ghaziabad incident for the suspension. We will request the world body to reconsider its decision. We will request at least to allow our athletes to take part in international event,” Chandrashekar told PTI.
The suspension of the PCI would hit hard the Indian para-athletes as they will not be able to take part in IPC-sanctioned events, including the India Open Para Games to be held here from May 2-9. The Indian Open, set to the be first international para event to be hosted by the country, will have to be cancelled now.
Following the suspension of the PCI by its parent world body, the sports ministry also issued a show cause to the PCI to explain as to why the government recognition should not be withdrawn for violation of rules.
The PCI has been in the news for wrong reasons recently as it totally mismanaged the National Para-Athletics Championships (March 20-22) in Ghaziabad in a shocking case of official apathy. The differently-abled athletes participating in the event were put up at unfurnished and unhygienic accommodations, prompting the Sports Ministry to seek a report from the organisers.
Chandrashekar said he was worried about the fate of the Indian Open Para Games, which will have to be cancelled unless the suspension is revoked very soon.
“Unless, the IPC does not revoke the suspension very soon, I think the Indian Open will not take place. How can the event will be held if the Indian athletes do not take part in that,” he added.
Tomar said that he would approach the sports ministry to intervene and convince the IPC to revoke the suspension.
“I am extremely sad that the PCI has been suspended for an unlimited period because the athletes will suffer. I will approach the sports ministry to intervene and write to the IPC that the issues in the PCI will be resolved.
I will also meet IPC officials and request them to revoke the suspension,” he said.
He alleged that the April 4 Executive Committee of the PCI had passed the accounts in an “irregular” way and the IPC must have taken into account while suspending the national body.
“The April EC meeting in Bangalore passed the accounts of the PCI in an irregular manner and the IPC has its own sources to know all these,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry today issued a show cause notice to PCI for numerous complaints and media reports about poor conduct of the 15th National Para Athletics Championships in all aspects — logistics, technical, and administrative.
In the show cause sent to Tomar and Chandrashekhar, the Ministry said it has also been reported in the enquiry conducted by Sports Authority of India that the venue did not have facilities for conduct of a National Championship and also lacked allied facilities required for differently abled athletes, such as ramps, disabled friendly toilets, lodging
“It has also been reported that the participants were provided limited bedding and made to sleep on the floor.
There were no proper arrangements for drinking water and most of the bathrooms were non-functional. The actual number of participants (athletes and officials) were far more than the registered ones,” the notice further said.
“It has been brought to the notice of the Ministry that there was total lack of planning in conceptualisation and conduct of a prestigious event like National Para-Athletics Championship on the part of PCI officials.
The announcement of the National Championship was not done well in advance. The approach of the PCI official has been found very casual.”
The PCI in its response, regarding the Ghaziabad fiasco, has stated that it allotted the event to the Uttar Pradesh Paralympic Association and they were responsible for the proper conduct of the championship.
The Ministry said that it would not deal with the state sports associations and deals only with NSFs and it was the responsibility of NSFs and in this case the PCI to conduct the above mentioned championship.
The ministry also said that the contention that the PCI and state federations were not funded by the Government was incorrect.
“As far as funding of PCI is concerned, the statement of PCI is factually incorrect. It is stated that grant of Rs 401.84 lakhs has been provided to PCI in the year 2014-15 towards coaching camps, participation in international sportsevents including Para-Asian Games, conduct of National Championship, etc,” the ministry said.
The ministry last week had called Tomar and Chandrashekar for a meeting with the government officials to explain their position for the Ghaziabad fiasco, but it had to be postponed.
The PCI was recognised by the government in November 2011 as a National Sports Federation for promotion of sports amongst the physically challenged sportspersons in the country.